Hurricane forecast analytics for insurance

2019 CSU Hurricane Season Forecast

CSU 2019 hurricane forecast via @philklotzbach

On Thursday April 4, researchers from Colorado State University released their 2019 hurricane season forecast. Overall, the CSU team predicts a “slightly below-average” year for hurricanes in the Atlantic basin. CSU’s Tropical Meteorology Project shared the following predictions for 2019:

  • 13 ‘Named’ Tropical Storms
  • 5  Total Hurricanes
  • 2 Major Hurricanes (Cat 3+)

The forecast of 13 named storms is slightly above the 1981 – 2010 annual average of 12.1. However, the predicted 5 total hurricanes and 2 major CAT 3+ storms both fall short of the historical averages of 6.4 and 2.7 respectively. Lead researcher, Dr. Philip Klotzbach, cited a weak El Nino system as the primary driver of below-average hurricane activity this year.

What does the 2019 hurricane forecast mean for insurers?

Hurricane Florence Rain Accumulations | Athenium Analytics

Hurricane Florence rain accumulations visualized in our Dexter Hurricane Analytics dashboard for insurers.

The 2019 Atlantic hurricane forecast looks similar to the outcome of 2018 hurricane season. And if the 2019 season is anything like last year, coastal residents, businesses and insurers should still be prepared for another expensive year. In 2018, the Atlantic basin saw 15 named storms, 8 total hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes (Florence and Michael). Parts of the Carolinas and Florida panhandle are still recovering from last year’s “below average” hurricane season, which saw two major hurricanes make landfall in the US. Florence and Michael brought devastating Category 4 winds and rain, and caused upwards of $50 billion in damages across several states. Hurricane Florence broke rainfall and flooding records in North Carolina and Hurricane Michael brought the third-strongest hurricane winds to ever reach the United States (155 mph).

Population growth and increased coastal development mean that hurricanes will continue to be an expensive peril for P&C insurance carriers. The combination of hurricane force winds, massive rainfall and hurricane surge flooding means that even the most vigilant coastal towns are at risk of catastrophic losses. The US hurricane season officially begins on June 1 and continues through November 30. But it’s entirely possible we see tropical storm system activity before the official start of the season.

P&C carriers (and their reinsurers) should heed the advice provided by CSU in this year’s report:

 “As is the case with all hurricane seasons, coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them. They should prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted.”


Hurricane analytics dashboard

Athenium Analytics offers a hurricane analytics dashboard for insurance companies that provides extended 10-day forecasts, email alerts and post-event weather forensics. Learn more about the features and how we helped insurance carriers manage exposures after Hurricane Michael and Hurricane Florence in 2018.

2018 hurricane season recap infographic

Need a refresher on the 2018 US hurricane season? Check out our new infographic below made by our hurricane analytics team. We encourage visitors to link, share or embed this infographic across the web.

Insurance Hurricane Statistics Infographic from Athenium Analytics


Link to the full forecast PDF

Link to Dr. Klotzbach’s Twitter account